Instead of inserting a large number of pictures into this post, such as the one above, I decided a video might suit better to this cause. It details the different incarnations of one of the main characters from Black Mask & Pale Rider, Shani Wennemein.
It’s a history, of sorts, of where the character of Shani Wennemein came from. I could also produce character sheets for that, considering she originated as a character in Dungeons and Dragons. The first video game aspect of her came in Bioware’s Neverwinter Nights. She’s still there and active from time to time, as I played a lot on a persistent world server called Legacy of the North. The server’s still there, just hasn’t been as populated as it was in its heyday. In truth, Shani never started out life in the video game world as an elf. She began as a tiefling, the half demon creatures of the Dungeons and Dragons world. But, thanks to the fact I was a bonehead and never asked for permission for a tiefling character (the DMs were strict on those rules), Shani became an elf instead. Which is fine, really. Being an elf is a lot easier to pass off as human in the Union and Confederacy of 1863. Whereas a tiefling would probably have been hunted down with all intentions of killing her. The horns and tail would have been a major pain for her. As it stands, with her Neverwinter Nights version, it’s hard to conceal a pair of wings as she is a Red Dragon Disciple (dual classing is awesome) as well as being a bard. She still has her roguish nature, however, as she started off as a thief (and considering you can have up to three classes in Neverwinter Nights, thief is not out of the question to add).
The latest incarnation is in Neverwinter Online, Cryptic Studios entry into the fantasy genre MMO, and Neverwinter’s first appearance in an MMO (the was the Dungeons and Dragons Online MMO, but took place outside of Neverwinter). As is the case in NWO, Shani is a thief, and uses all aspects of stealth and daggery goodness available to her. Sadly, NWO does not allow for dual classing, nor does it have a bard option (which I’d grab for Pania in a heartbeat). There are “coming soon” options, which includes a race (which I can only assume will be Drow) and a class (which I’m not certain of consdering many of the D&D classics like paladin, barbarian, sorcerer and monk do not exist).
I should add something about DDO, considering I did make Shani in that game, but didn’t get very far. She was rogue, and it was an interesting game, but it was very team heavy, which wasn’t always great if you just wanted to log on and run around for a bit on your own. Needless to say, DDO wasn’t very memorable for me.
Also, two other games that I don’t have in the video where Shani was created were both superhero MMOs. One I didn’t get Shani up very high in level, the other sadly doesn’t exist anymore, which next to Guild Wars 2 is possibly one of the best representations of Shani. The former is Champions Online, the latter is City of Heroes. In CoX, Shani was a dual pistols blaster, and she was a lot of fun. As I said before, it’s kind of sad that the game doesn’t exist anymore, considering it had it’s fun elements about it. I often like going back to a game I haven’t played in a while, even if it is online, and with CoX I can’t do that.
Lastly, which is the first part of the video, is Guild Wars 2. Quite possibly the best representation of Shani from what I’ve written in the book. A dual gunslinger who can swap out to dual blades should the need arise. A very acrobatic woman with the ability to cloak herself in darkness and disappear from her enemies. Unfortunately, there is no elf race in Guild Wars 2, but I managed to pick the smallest size available for Shani and gave her hair that covered her ears (which still stick out and she’s received the comment that she looks more like an elf than a human).
Shani did begin her life, so to speak, outside of the realm of the pages of a book, but did eventually end up there. But she still exists in the game world in many different facets. This happens to be where she began, and the constant aspect of role play developed the story that eventually did become The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider.
Next week, I’ll do part two to this which explores where Pania Alow came from. It’ll include a video as well.
And now, time for shameless self promotion.
Both my first book, Black Mask & Pale Rider, and my second book, Canyons of Steel, are available for purchase online through many different online book sellers.
Lulu.com (where both books were published)
- Tim Holtorf Author Spotlight the front page store for my books on lulu.com.